Fighting fake news teaching critical thinking and media literacy in a digital age
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It’s Never Too Early to Start Teaching Kids Media Literacy
In the age of fake news, it’s never too early to teach kids media literacy skills.
In this era of fake news, it has become more important than ever to ensure people are equipped with critical thinking skills, so that they can discern truth from falsehood, effectively interrogate information sources and understand how and why online falsehoods are spread in the digital age. To that end, the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods recommended that the Government set up a national framework to coordinate and guide public education initiatives. Professor of media and communication Lim Sun Sun from the Singapore University of Technology and Design points out that educators need to go beyond just inculcating media literacy. Much of the media literacy education today provides people with checklists of telltale signs to assess the credibility of information. However, purveyors of online disinformation have greater access to technologies that fabricate information to seem so real that it has become very difficult for most people to identify fake news when they see it.
In its simplest terms, media literacy builds upon the foundation of traditional literacy and offers new forms of reading and writing. Media literacy empowers people to be critical thinkers and makers, effective communicators and active citizens" NAMLE. News literacy is often juxtaposed with media literacy as the debate over definitions continues. Stony Brook University's Center for News Literacy defines it as "the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports, whether they come via print, television, radio or internet" Center for News Literacy.
But what can be done to solve the problem? The report includes the following findings that are relevant to educators:. And media literacy instruction in schools is not the only answer to the problem of fake news.